We are working to collect DNA “barcodes” from every fish and macro-benthic invertebrate species of the Chesapeake Bay. Genetic barcoding uses short DNA sequences that are long enough and variable enough to differentiate between species, but short enough to sequence relatively cheaply. Barcode libraries like the one we are developing for Chesapeake Bay fish and invertebrates, can greatly improve the speed and accuracy of species identification, especially for specimens that are difficult to identify visually. For example, we are using our fish barcode library as a tool to identify the eggs and newly hatched larvae of river herring and the partially digested prey found in stomachs of the invasive blue catfish. Our project is a small subset of barcoding initiatives around the world. The Consortium for the Barcode of Life, of which the Smithsonian Institution was a founding member, aims to collect DNA sequences from every species on earth.
This species list below represents a record of specimens collected by the Fish and Invertebrate lab by otter trawl, fish wier, or seine. It is not meant to serve as a list of every species that has ever been present in the Rhode River.